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Dear Mr. Smith,

I want to join the ranks of fans yearning for your return to TV, our
kitchens and our lives.  I discovered your show while in college in the
mid 80's, and bought "Cooks with Wine" soon after (followed quickly by
most of the rest of your treatises).  There are many recipe collections
on the shelves, but with the possible exception of Diana Kennedy and her
wonderful insights into the culture, color and cuisine of Mexico, I have
yet to find anyone who can so eloquently express the intertwining of
food as family, of culture as history, of grandma's cooking as the
patriotic sense of soul.

I have since married a beautiful Mexican princess, moved to Mexico and
opened my life to another grandmother's kitchen (well, my
mother-in-law's kitchen, which is pretty darned close).  From baptisms
to wakes, from soccer games to just a lovely Sunday afternoon, the ties
between friendship, family, food, and thanksgiving are deep and tightly
bound here.  Seasoned lamb, wrapped in maguey cactus and cooked over hot
rocks in a pit in the ground, the cactus tines arranged just so,
channelling the juices towards an earthenware pot at the base of the
pit,  while the men laugh and sing and drink beer or pulque, the women
gossip in the kitchen and the kids (lots of kids) run and play.  A bowl
of spicy broth laced with tripe and garnished with fresh oregano, the
perfect hangover remedy.  Glistening tamales sliding from their
banana-leaf jackets, straight from the steamer and so hot that you burn
your fingers but can't wait for the thing to cool off enough to grab it
right. A simple tortilla, toasted crisp over a charcoal grill, topped
with black beans, avocado slices and a roasted tomato salsa (maybe a
little fresh cream to top it off?).   Finger food at it's peasant best.
It's impossible to consider Mexico without the influence of food and
feasts on the people.  How fortunate my children are, to have the
opportunity to share in different cultures first hand.  How fortunate I
am, to have you as a teacher.  While life's twists might have led me
here anyway, your insights certainly prepared me for acceptance of
traditions completely foreign in face yet familiar at its root to my
humble West Virginia upbringing (I miss the apple trees!).  At the
least, my tapes of your TV shows have satisfied a need for remembering
my own past from time to time.

Thank you, Mr. Smith.  I hope to see you again some day, or at least
read another of your insights into the stuff that makes us feel right.

May the rain fall softly on your fields,

Dan Greenwood
Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco



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